GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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November 19, 2012

Essex Town Meeting tonight features sewer, safety issues

ESSEX — This town’s Special Fall Town Meeting set for tonight is set to ask voters to approve an article opening the door to new options on sewer connections, along with money for police and firefighter safety equipment.

Selectmen are hoping that, if passed, the sewer article would allow people to apply for larger sewer systems than the standard design flow of 330 gallons per day.

After studying the system and the town’s sewer capacity for about five years, officials are ready to offer up a new option. While keeping the moratorium, which simply requires an individual review process, the new article will allow individuals and corporations to apply to use more sewer water per day.

“The proposal is to begin allowing certain control in design flow,” Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki has said. “Instead of just saying that a moratorium is in place, it will say if you desire additional flow under the new rule, the person could develop and ask for more.”

If the change to the sewer connection moratorium passes at tonight’s Town Meeting — slated for 7:30 p.m. at Essex Elementary School — it will need approval by the state attorney general before going into effect.

Also tonight, police will look to residents to pay for a new police cruiser as well as for repairs to headquarters.

The Town Meeting warrant includes three articles related to police funding: whether the town should raise money to pay for a new cruiser, protective body armor and electrical control weapons — basically Tasers, and repairs to the roof of Memorial Fire Station on Martin Street, the headquarters of the town’s Police and Fire departments.

Police Chief Peter Silva has said the items are all sorely needed.

The department has three cars and tries to stay on a cycle of replacing one each year, as the oldest vehicle in the fleet inevitably reaches 100,000 miles of use after three years, a number that, according to Silva, can be translated to about 130,000 miles if you add on the extra idling time that most police vehicles undergo.

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